1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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The End of Week One

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by itstooloud, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. itstooloud

    itstooloud Newcomer

    I'm quite new to this concept/diagnosis and have just finished my first week of the SEP.

    Intellectually I had no trouble accepting Sarno's book and, like a lot of people, I saw myself on every page. I was eager to get started and submit to the program. So far there's been no change in my pain, which is in my lower back.

    There are a couple issues I'm confronting right now. One is that I've been in therapy for many years and I have admitted to myself many painful emotions to the point where it feels like there's not much left to discover. There's quite a lot I'm angry about, and quite a bit I carry around with me every day in the form of anxiety. I have a psychology degree and I think that more than most people, I'm in the habit of questioning my own motivations and trying to see all sides of an argument. I realize this sounds ludicrous but thus far my daily journals are only written versions of stories I have already told myself a hundred times.

    Like I said, it seems not only rational but obvious that my pain is coming from psychological factors. Other than admitting that these things are causing my pain, I'm not sure what other steps I can take. I try relaxation techniques and prescription anxiety pills but when they wear off, I'm right back where I started. I frequently "check in" with myself to find that some part of my body is clenched or I have a sour fearful feeling in the pit of my stomach for no obvious reason.

    I think I'm committing a couple of common TMS errors, one of which I've seen come up in some of these comments - constantly checking on the pain and feeding back into my anxiety with a "yep, it's still there" loop. Also, it seems like Sarno's book and subsequent reading materials recounted several stories of people who started to let go of the pain almost immediately once they understood what was going on. When that didn't happen for me, I got frustrated.

    I'm trying to think psychologically. I have a lot of pressure in my career right now and that stress won't go away any time soon. So I guess I've got to keep plugging away.

    I'm thankful this resource exists and I'll check in again soon.

  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, itstooloud. I am so glad you found TMSWiki and have begun the SEP. You have been in therapy and have been thinking about the emotional reasons you are in pain, so I am confident you will soon be pain-free. It takes total, 100 percent belief in TMS causing the symptoms.

    I find the most helpful ways to relieve anxiety is to practice deep breathing and think positive. I imagine myself in a sunny, safe place like on a beach.
    I also like drinking a cup of hot milk. It relaxes me more than any medication. I like drinking the hot milk while watching a Youtube video about relaxation. There are many of them, and often they are self-hypnotic. One of my favorites is a video of a peaceful river with a mill, from Okanokumo, a Japanese musician and photographer. Very relaxing. Another is from Michael Sealey, "Guided Meditation for Detachment from Over-Thinking" that is very calming and a form of mindfulness, living in the present moment. They are good to watch anytime but especially before bedtime.

    Try not to monitor your pain. Try to forget about it and enjoy every day. Keep positive. Today is going to be better than yesterday, and although live in the present, tell yourself tomorrow is going to be even better.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi ITL, and welcome, I'm glad you found this forum, it's a great supportive community.
    What I'm hearing when I read your post is a lot of analysis, which I suspect is going on inside your brain all the time. Along with a lot of negative messages underneath the analysis. I am going to suggest that you work on cutting off all the chatter and replace it with simple calming and constructive messages. And probably practice some self-love.

    I'm saying this from a "takes one to know one" point of view, because when I found Dr. Sarno and this group four years ago, I was a mess, with anxiety and incipient depression about to take over my life on top of multiple physical symptoms. I'm at about 90% recovery most of the time, and although stress will cause my symptoms to worsen, I have a healthier relationship with them now.

    Here are the things which have helped (or are still helping) me:

    1. Hope & Help For Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. This little book has helped SO many of us with anxiety. She comforts, and she soothes, and she has a simple prescription for all forms of anxiety.

    2. Really accessing my inner child - it was through a combination of reading and journaling and a guided meditation that I was able to "meet" myself as a very young child - probably 4-5 years old, and to realize how lonely and awkward and isolated I felt - even though I came from a loving and secure family. No big childhood traumas for me, so I was amazed, and yet I knew this to be the truth, and I was able to give her the comfort that my parents didn't know that I needed (too many younger kids, and I was way too self-sufficient).

    3. Learning to hear my constant negative self-talk, and choosing to replace it with constructive messages that my brain can use to visualize a different outcome (still working on that one).

    4. Being willing to change my mind. Like when I drag myself early to the gym for my training session, not looking forward to it because I've always disliked physical exertion. So I make a conscious decision to look forward to having stronger muscles and bones - and I can literally feel an increase in energy and suddenly there's a smile on my face when I greet my trainer.

    5. Mindfulness! We keep talking about it, and I don't find it easy, but I know that if I can do it for a few days in a row, I always feel better and much more positive. Many of us are signed up for an online Mindfulness Summit which starts on October 1 (this Thursday) - the link is in my signature line!

    6. Self-love. Perfectionists, goodists, and TMSers - one thing we are really good at is self-criticism. You can't heal unless you know that you deserve to heal. For self-love, I think I would recommend Alan Gordon's TMS Recovery Program.
    For someone like you who's already done a lot of "emotional archaeology" it might offer a different approach. I haven't done the program myself, it's newer than when I did the SEP four years ago, and I had a couple of years away due to family issues, so now that I'm back I'm planning on going through it and doing all the exercises.

    Good luck, keep posting, and keep us posted, because we are all in this together!

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